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Cancer Care in an Election Year, Palliative Care Challenges, Incorporating Patient Values, and Guidelines Updates Featured at NCCN Annual Conference

Approximately 1,700 oncology stakeholders are expected to attend NCCN’s 21st Annual Conference: Advancing the Standard of Cancer Care™, March 31 – April 2, 2016, in Hollywood, Florida.

FORT WASHINGTON, PA — The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) will host its 21st Annual Conference: Advancing the Standard of Cancer Care™, March 31 – April 2, 2016, at The Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida. Approximately 1,700 physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other oncology stakeholders and representatives of the business sector are expected to attend.

Two roundtable discussions will look at the impact the election and a new administration could have on cancer and health policy, as well as palliative care and end-of-life issues from a patient and provider perspective. A host of other sessions will tackle topics such as strategies for safe and effective opioid prescribing, sexual function in cancer survivors, and controversies in breast cancer screening strategies.  

“The NCCN 21st Annual Conference is a true illustration of the remarkable impact that our organization and its esteemed Member Institutions have had in the treatment of people with cancer, as well as the relevancy of and demand for the library of NCCN Guidelines,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “This year’s conference not only features milestones and advancements in cancer therapy, screening, and supportive care, but also brings together renowned experts to tackle key challenges to the U.S. health care system, as well as issues surrounding integrating personal values into treatment planning.”

Moderated by Toby C. Campbell, MD, MSCI, University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, the opening roundtable on Thursday, March 31, Palliative Care: Providing Comfort from a Patient and Provider Perspective, will address aspects of palliative care, hospice care, and best supportive care practices for patients with cancer, as well as the challenges of symptom management and end-of-life issues. Panelists include: Maria Dans, MD, Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine; Carri Siedlik, APRN, ACHPN, Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center; and Sophia Smith, PhD, MSW, Duke Cancer Institute.

Friday’s roundtable discussion, Emerging Issues in Oncology: Cancer Care in an Election Year, will feature four panelists from both sides of the aisle — including the Rubio campaign’s policy advisor and one of the major architects of the Affordable Care Act — as they discuss issues surrounding cancer and health care in the lead-up to the 2016 election. Moderated by Kavita Patel, MD, MSHS, Brookings Institution, and Marc Samuels, JD, MPH, ADVI, the following panelists will discuss the parties’ stances on health care, how cancer care will fit into the health agenda, and the future of President Obama’s “moonshot” initiative to eliminate cancer: Cybele Bjorklund, MHS, Georgetown University; Lanhee J. Chen, PhD, Hoover Institution; Elizabeth J. Fowler, PhD, JD, Johnson & Johnson; and Scott Gottlieb, MD, American Enterprise Institute.

"This roundtable will offer insight into the impact of the elections and administration change on health care and the care for people with cancer," said Kavita Patel, MD, MSHS.

This year, conference sessions will cover a number of screening, diagnosis, patient management, and supportive care topics. On Saturday, April 2, Mary Lou Smith, JD, MBA, Research Advocacy Network, will facilitate a panel titled Controversies in Breast Cancer Screening Strategies. Panelists Therese Bevers, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD, MAS, University of California, San Francisco; and Kevin Oeffinger, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, will discuss the discrepancies in breast cancer screening recommendations from NCCN, the American Cancer Society, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force as these groups work toward creating a consensus document that reveals where they mutually agree.

A session on Thursday, March 31, will focus on the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) with NCCN Evidence Blocks™, a graphic representation of five value measures including efficacy, safety, quality and quantity of evidence, consistency of evidence, and affordability, which are intended for all users of NCCN Guidelines® as a means to initiate a discussion of value between a provider and patient. Robert W. Carlson, MD, and Eric Jonasch, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, will discuss the role of NCCN Evidence Blocks™ in patient management during The NCCN Value Initiative: Using NCCN Evidence Blocks™ in Clinical Decisions.

As opioid abuse in the face of chronic pain becomes a major health concern, pain management for people with cancer is a challenge for providers. Judith Paice, PhD, RN, FAAN, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, will discuss safe and effective pain management for people with cancer, as well as risk factor screening techniques that enable clinicians to predict which patients might be most likely to misuse medication.

Esteemed panel members will present the new NCCN Guidelines for Vulvar Cancer, as well as key updates to the library of NCCN Guidelines, including but not limited to breast, colon, non-small cell lung, prostate, and rectal cancers, as well as B-cell lymphomas, melanoma, and multiple myeloma.

To view the full conference agenda or to register, visit For a conference media kit, visit


About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 27 leading cancer centers, is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers. The primary goal of all NCCN initiatives is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives. For more information, visit

The NCCN Member Institutions are:

  • Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center
  • Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute
  • City of Hope National Medical Center
  • Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
  • Duke Cancer Institute
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
  • The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
  • Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
  • Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Moffitt Cancer Center
  • The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
  • Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Stanford Cancer Institute
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
  • UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • University of Colorado Cancer Center
  • University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center
  • Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
  • Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital